Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bloom Box: New fuel cell technology that is a real step forward

Bloom Energy generates clean, reliable power onsite with minimal environmental impact, making the Bloom Energy Server™ one of the most sustainable solutions on the market today. Compared to alternative sources, Bloom delivers enhanced sustainability benefits in many ways: high efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, avoided air pollutants, small physical footprint, and reduced water use.

Bloombox fuel cells
Higher Efficiency

Bloom Energy Servers convert natural gas or renewable biogas into electricity using a direct electrochemical reaction without combustion. This highly efficient process is not bound by the same thermodynamic constraints1 for creating electricity and thus enables exceptionally high conversion efficiency. Today, Bloom ships systems with an industry-leading 60+ percent electrical efficiency, based on the lower heating value (LHV) of the fuel — a figure that has increased markedly since our first commercial shipments in 2008. Looking forward, we see a clear pathway to deliver even higher efficiency.

By contrast, the average coal-fired power plant — with over a century of R&D behind it — converts only 33 percent of its energy input into electricity.2 Yet because no one wants a coal plant in their "backyard", this electricity is generated a great distance away from the end user and must be transported via hundreds of miles of power lines, causing a portion of this power generated to become lost — anywhere from 7 - 10 percent in the developed world, and up to 50 percent3 in developing economies. Since Bloom Energy Servers typically generate power at the customer's site, energy is generated and provided directly where it is needed, thus avoiding these losses altogether.

As the world transitions to a renewable energy future, the most sustainable pathway is to consume our precious resources more efficiently. Not only is it more sustainable, but it's also smarter — fuel savings mean money savings.

Low CO2 Emissions

Bloom Energy Servers convert fuel into delivered electricity at the highest level of efficiency amongst commercially available technologies. Greater efficiency means less fuel consumed to produce the same output of electricity, and that lower fuel consumption corresponds to fewer CO2 emissions. Even when compared to advanced centralized combined cycle gas turbine power plants equipped with the best available control technology (BACT) — the US EPA's benchmark — Bloom delivers a lower CO2 footprint due to higher electricity efficiency.

The flexibility of the Bloom Energy Server allows customers to dramatically reduce their carbon emissions while continuing to power their operations reliably. When fueled with biogas, the Bloom Energy Server provides 100 percent carbon neutral power generation. When fueled with natural gas, it releases a fraction of the CO2 produced by coal-fired plants or modern combined cycle natural gas plants even before taking into account transmission losses. As businesses prepare for a carbon-constrained future, the Bloom Energy Server offers a clean, reliable, and affordable solution to meet a customer's sustainability needs.

Virtually No Smog Forming Particulates

Because Bloom uses solid oxide fuel cell technology that converts fuel into electricity via an electrochemical reaction, Bloom Energy Servers virtually eliminate smog forming particulates and harmful NOx and SOx emissions that are emitted by conventional power plants. These invisible emissions cause smog, asthma, and harm human health.4

Small Physical Footprint

Large centralized power plants, whether they are coal-fired, gas-fired, wind, solar or hydropower, require large land areas far from most population centers. The electricity they produce is diminished through transmission and distribution losses. The Bloom Energy Server, on the other hand, is a compact solution with units occupying only a slightly larger footprint than a parking space. They are located onsite — eliminating T&D losses — and are well-suited for urban environments.

Water Savings

Bloom Energy Servers also deliver extraordinary water savings. Bloom's technology uses no water beyond a 240-gallon injection at start up. By comparison, the average U.S. coal plant uses 1.1 million gallons per 200 kW annually, and efficient combined cycle natural gas plants use 416,100 gallons per 200 kW annually.5

Additionally, the simple, modular, building-block architecture is easy to install and easy to buy. As your energy needs grow, Bloom can grow with you, all the while delivering clean, reliable electricity —the benefits of Better Electrons.
1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_efficiency#Carnot_efficiency
2 http://www.worldcoal.org/coal-the-environment/coal-use-the-environment/improving-efficiencies/; efficiency reported here as the lower heating value (LHV) of the fuel.
3 http://www.teriin.org/upfiles/pub/papers/ft33.pdf
4 http://www.aqmd.gov/smog/historical/smog_and_health.htm
5 http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/1/015031/pdf/1748-9326_8_1_015031.pdf

Source: Bloombox

1 comment:

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